Budget Surplus for What?
The following are a few budget facts I have selected from Senator Kim Elton’s witty and informative January 20th e-mailed newsletter, Off the Record.
$3.6 billion*–That’s the governor’s proposed general fund spending level for fiscal year 2007….
$432 million*–That’s the general fund amount the governor wants to spend on capital projects. The governor’s proposed general fund construction budget is $93 million higher than this year’s GF construction budget, which was far larger than normal.
$1.2 billion*–That’s the expected surplus in the general fund at the end of the current fiscal year. That’s a windfall. It’s more than 10 times what was expected when the legislature completed its spending plan at the end of last session….
$565 million*–that’s the amount of this year’s $1.2 billion windfall surplus the governor proposes to dump into a public education fund as a partial down payment on education funding in the next fiscal year. By using this much of the FY06 surplus to fund some of FY07 education costs, the governor’s proposed FY07 deficit is wiped out.
$400 million*–That’s what the governor wants to spend this year as a down payment on partial state ownership in a gas pipeline….
*Numbers from the legislature’s non-partisan Legislative Finance Division.
Yes, there is suddenly lots of money, but where is the public discussion about using some part of it to help fund Denali KidCare, which takes care of Alaska’s children who have no health insurance coverage? A few years ago the current administration fired all the recruiters who were seeking out these children all across the state. How about using just a little of that money to hire back the recruiters, and to build a fund to expand services? As a public policy priority, where do we place the health of Alaska’s children?